What does a director of photography do in the cinema?

What are the responsibilities of a director of photography in film?

The Director of Photography in the world of cinema is one of the leaders in audiovisual production. He can also be called a cinematographer, and is one of those responsible for ensuring that the lighting, the scene and the environment are captured on the camera. His work is closely linked to that of the director and the main creative, ensuring that the idea is adequately reflected in the audiovisual project.

Together with the director, they work to bring to life the director's vision of the work. At the time of production, the director of photography in a film piece must coordinate with lighting, costume and makeup artists to develop the project harmoniously.

The tasks of a director of photography in film pieces

From the moment of conception of an audiovisual piece, the director of photography must be involved in the production. His job also consists of evaluating the different locations in detail as well as establishing the lists of needs for an entire production team.

En technical issues, the director of photography in the cinema works side by side with the camera team, ensuring the operation and the different special lenses and filters to use. Precision and articulated work are essential elements of a job well done in everything that concerns a director of photography.

The main functions of a director of photography

Coordination is the main task of a director of photography, which is why it is important to understand the scope of video productions and determine the necessary equipment according to each project. Lighting is one of the most important fields, where the director of photography must be able to determine the optimal conditions for each scene according to the type of video.

In turn, the director of photography must have a very organized way of working. There are many parameters and variables to consider in the production and development of a video. Hence the responsibility when controlling the capture of a scene. The right equipment, the director's style requirements, and setting up the environment for maximum use.

The cinematographer's knowledge of film must also take into account technical issues. Must be able to operate equipment and tell the rest if necessary. It is not only about photography and capture work, but also about having management capacity, knowledge in lighting and photography.

In terms of professional development, it is most common for a cinematographer to first work as assistant for a while. There you learn the basic notions of the role, the functions and scope of the role in an audiovisual production. Beyond study and academic training, experience and work in the field is very important to be able to perform the role in the best possible way and to have a better chance of obtaining a job in the sector.

The work before and after filming

The director of photography in cinema is one of the most influential figures. It covers different technical areas in the shooting of a video or film, from lighting and optics to issues of voltage, electrical distribution, colorimetry and recording and projection formats. His work is closely linked to that of the director, being one of the heads in charge of achieving the image that transmits the feeling and idea of ​​the director.

Photography and film direction

In each of the moments of the creation of an audiovisual product, the director of photography has different tasks. He begins in pre-production and in a very fluid dialogue with the director.

  • Decide on the aesthetics of the work after analyzing the script.
  • Visit possible filming locations.
  • He is in charge of the budget of the technical means for the type of aesthetic desired.
  • Select collaborators for the camera crew.
  • Coordinates the direction, costume, art and makeup teams to achieve the aesthetic agreed upon with the director.

Functions during production

The second moment of a shoot is the production stage. Here, the work begins to adapt the script to an audiovisual format and work together with the actors and the scenarios. In film, the role of the director of photography at this stage includes:

  • Decide camera settings and workflow for the editor.
  • Decide on the frames together with the director and the appropriate optics.
  • Coordinates the camera and lighting teams to carry out the lighting scheme and camera movements. This stage requires articulated work with other members of the team such as the gaffer (chief electrician), key grip (chief machinist), assistant and camera assistant.
  • Carry out the shooting plan to meet the established dates and deadlines or rearrange them according to the circumstances.
  • Coordinates the work with the special effects team for the post-production of the work.

Completion of filming, post-production stage

The director of photography in the film industry continues working even after the filming itself has finished. He is a fundamental part of the work once the filming is finished, since through his knowledge and criteria he is in charge of closing the aesthetics and the final result after editing.

  • He is in charge of the final look in conjunction with the colorist.
  • Review the final copies to approve the result in relation to what was initially planned.

With so much work on your shoulders, The director of photography is a key player when it comes to achieving a specific result. in the final experience. A well-done work can move the audience, generating terror, suspense, joy and many other emotional responses among viewers. That's what his work is about, together with the director who is in charge of the acting section and the overall experience. That is why the direction of photography in a video or a film piece is so important when it comes to bringing viewers closer to a series of reflections and sensations that are captured on the screen.

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